Edit/Op-Ed

New Trend in Communal Riots – Minorities Must Introspect

Zaigham Murtaza for BeyondHeadlines

Perceived as the celebrations of democracy, elections have often brought destruction and conflicts with them. Since my childhood I have noticed every elections tend to divide the society more than the earlier one. General Elections 2014 are no exceptions where communal forces are on a rampage. But this time, we are witnessing a typically different pattern.

After first general elections, when dust of partition had much settled and new India had emerged it was thought that India will learn the lessons from recent times and people will learn to live in peace going forward. Beliefs of the Constitution drafters were soon shattered and with every election the horrible bells of communalism kept on ringing louder and louder.

The tones of communal hatred were on peak in eighties. With the murder of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi followed by anti-Sikh riots and landslide victory for Congress in consecutive elections made it a mandatory tool for power players to persecute the minorities to polarize the majority votes. Post Babri demolition nationwide, Gujarat, Kandhmal and most recently Muzaffarnagar are few examples of such thousands of conflicts since 1952.

It may have been a business as usual but the recent conflicts of Meerut and Hyderabad are the new trend and the most dangerous one. Although, intensity and the expansion of these two conflicts seems to be the smaller one but these will surely hit the nation in broader sense.

With interest in the study of riots one may be amazed to know that neither of these two conflicts is between majority and minorities, rather they are minority versus minorities. In Meerut, a segment of people opposed the construction of drinking water facility on the roadside. Only reason of opposition was that it was being built by Muslims and those behind the construction were caretakers of nearby mosque. Project was not opposed by majority community. Neither the Panjabi nor the Baniya shop owners in Gudri Bazar or Sadar Bazar, who outnumber others in the area, opposed the project. Opposition came from the Jains, interestingly notified as minorities just before the election by the outgoing UPA-2 government.

In Hyderabad, it is not the Lakshmi Temple versus Charminar Mosque this time; rather two communities in conflict zone are again minorities. Sikhs and Muslims are pitted against each other and political parties are waiting to reap the dividends.

It will be wrong to indulge in blame game; instead it is a time to introspect. Whoever may be the culprit, minorities should deeply think who is benefitting from these games and what will be future implications. It’s a time to be cautious and remain aloof of political conspiracies.

Surely, the bad times will pass away as it had been in past, but future should be taken into consideration. Learn to live in civil society and try to promote the forces who believe in communal harmony. It’s a time to organize Jamats for different purpose. Reach other communities and ask them, why they hate you. Ask them, what drive them against you. Try to resolve the issues.

If majority is trying to ignore the peace for political purpose, it’s your duty to nourish harmony. Remember, there are forces who want to force a life of second grade citizenship on you. It’s up to you, either submit yourself to their wishes or live a dignified life. For sure, dignity will not come with conflicts, rather it will come when others realize your utility in the society.

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